BMA urges NHS to underwrite GP premises loans

NHS Property Services should use its £3bn property portfolio to underwrite loans to help GP practices invest in their premises, according to the GPC.

Dr Peter Holden: GPs need access to premises loans
Dr Peter Holden: GPs need access to premises loans

GPC negotiator and premises lead Dr Peter Holden said practices are struggling to secure loans to invest in their premises and have been starved of investment for a decade.

He is calling on NHS Property Services, which took over the management of PCT-owned property in April, to use its £3bn portfolio to set up a corporation that could underwrite premises investment loans for GP practices.

‘NHS Property Services is a tool, they are an NHS property company, they have a huge portfolio,’ he said. ‘Banks won’t lend practices money unless it is secured.

‘NHS Property Services is an agency of NHS England and it will do as it is told.’

Dr Holden said the government’s policies of moving care out of hospitals to community settings, ‘will be doomed to failure without sizeable investment’ in GP premises. The NHS will be unable to meet the £30bn projected 2020 funding gap, unless there is investment in GP premises, Dr Holden warned.

He has previously called for a £250m-a-year government investment.

In June, GP revealed that NHS Property Services had set aside £125m for investment in NHS premises. The organisation pledged to use the fund for ‘new projects’ and major refurbishments’.

The proportion of this that will be allocated to primary care has yet to be made clear, however.

LMC leaders have called for recurrent investment in GP premises, rather than one-off injections of funding.

Dr Holden has previously called for an annual investment of £250m a year from central government to fund an overhaul of primary care premises.

NHS Property Services is a limited company but it is entirely owned by the DH.

NHS England has previously ruled out underwriting private loans.

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